Sunday, March 30, 2014

Birds Of The Air Will Tweet

This first week of spring has been a marvelous time of restful rejuvenation. I've been spending a lot of time doing all my favorite things: gardening, admiring the plants, the birds, bees and butterflies that come to play in the Garden of Grace, etc.. Anytime I spend time in nature, I don't do as much with social media or information technology, although I find myself reaching for my camera quite often (the picture here of the bee inside the delicate flower of the dahlia tree is a good example!). Anyway, I've also been thinking about the stories in the Bible about the birds and I remembered this little piece about Twitter, which I originally wrote almost a year ago for the Presbyterian Writers Guild newsletter. Enjoy!

5 Effective Strategies and Practices for Christian Authors on Twitter 
Writers often need to know much more than how to get started on Twitter.  They may like to know how to connect with readers, find new audiences for their books and writings, network, and be in community through the solitary tasks of research and writing, besides adding a Christian presence. Jesus’ commandment, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is our guiding star for effectiveness on Twitter. 
1.     Tweet vision.  Articulate the spiritual reason for being on Twitter. Ex: A voice of truth, hope, and healing, sharing the love of Jesus, my writings, faith, and discipleship stories, one tweet at a time.
2.     Tweet time. Allocate daily time to read and manage tweets. Browsing profiles, tweets, including links and pictures will help you get to know your tweeps (followers). Tweeting regularly by adhering to a personal schedule, say 1-5 interactive tweets, 5days/wk, indicates a stable and meaningful presence.   
3.     Interact and build relationships. Minding your P’s and Qs, simple courtesies which will set you apart, and help your voice to be heard above the noise include: 1) Welcoming and thanking new followers and retweets weekly or daily; 2) Replying and retweeting (RT) generously. Aiming for 50% of tweets to mention and encourage followers adds gracious Christian value to a social media rule of thumb which suggests 25% to 35 %.
4.     Use hashtags (#). Hashtags can 1) convey emotion/current activity (#vague #amwriting #amediting), 2) identify format, genre, subject, products, brands (#Book #Kindle #Histfic #Flashfic #Romance #History #Gardening #Ford), 3) recommend (#BestRead #MustRead), 4) connect with others like you (#IndieAuthor #Blogger), and 5) find experts (#AskAgent #AskEditor #AskAuthor). Make your own hashtags such as title of your book (#GodMadeAFarmer) or unique Christian writing (#devotional #prayerbook). Hashtags can be used in profiles and tweets. More than 5 hashtags reduce readability.
5.     Participate in Twitter memes and chats. #MondayBlogs #TeaserTuesday #WriterWednesday, #IndieThursday, #FridayReads, #litchat, #memoirchat, and #pcusa can help discover unique roles in geographical, niche, secular, and national-level communities besides increasing the value and visibility of tweets. Create your own memes and experimental campaigns, like Irvine Pres. Church did with #worshipchatipc.
Dr. Anita Coleman, a former university professor, is the author of the Garden of Grace: A Daybook of Faith and Healing. Anita worships at Irvine Pres. Church and helps with their social media. Her writings on grace along with a bibliography of digital libraries for discipleship can be found at Eyes on Christ . She tweets @chariscol

2 comments:

  1. Social media is a tricky endeavor to pursue. There a lot of people to reach but spending the time needed to reach them can be very tedious. Combing through twitter accounts is not exactly what we as writers signed up to be doing with our time. Personally, I would rather be tweeting and writing instead of focusing on marketing. However, if there is no market, our voices fall upon deaf ears. Thanks for the article on the use of twitter. I currently use Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to reach people. God is gracious.

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    1. Absolutely, John, I totally agree with you - writing over marketing, anytime. Ignoring selfish promotion efforts and choosing to focus on working for His glory as he leads us has helped me hone writing and relationship building skills w social media. It still is a balancing act as I can sometimes just get so caught up with technology and have to remind myself hey, there's people behind the media and that's why its social. We also don't want to use people and one of the most helpful things for me was this Walk Worthy sermon on Ephesians 4 by a friend of mine: http://lrpmission.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/eph-4-1-16-walk-worthy-primera-iglesia-091811.pdf. Thanks for writing me!

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Thank you for taking the time to encourage me with your feedback. Blessings.